At some point in the recent past, I learned that the 9/11 Commission Report had been nominated for a National Book Award. Rather than pay a bookstore ten dollars for a pre-printed copy, I downloaded the various chapters and printed them on my computer. Even as the paper started spewing out of my printer, I found the document hard to put down.

I’m about half-way through the report and I can ununequivacably state that unlike every other government document I’ve ever read, and I’ve read more than my fair share, the 9/11 Commission Report makes for compelling reading. The first chapter is as taut as anything a modern thriller either tapped out on a keyboard. Perhaps what makes it so interesting is that all of the events actually happened and weren’t just passing phantoms in the writer’s imagination.

Government actions, committees, and agencies are examined in reasonably harsh light. If something worked, or more likely did not work, as designed or intended, the writers of the report say so in plain english. Such frankness is almost unheard of in a government report on itself.

Since it seems that at least some major subset of the recommendations in this report will become law/policy, and since the report is such good reading, you could do worse than to pick up a copy of the report and peruse it in your spare time.